Traditional Nantucket cranberry pie is a simple cranberry cake recipe so easy even non bakers can make it. Think Thanksgiving dessert, Christmas breakfast, and all your holiday brunches in between.
Despite its name, Nantucket cranberry pie it is not a traditional pie. There is no pastry crust, instead it is more like a cranberry cake or even a buckle or cobbler. It’s made with fresh or frozen cranberries tossed with sugar and pecans topped with a simple cake batter. The cranberries burst during baking, releasing tart juices that bubble up through the sweet batter. Yum.
Nantucket cranberry pie is amazing served warm or at room temperature, always with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top. My preference is for whipped cream, heavily flavored with vanilla paste.
The dessert might or might not have been invented on Nantucket, but it’s closely associated with New England, and is a popular regional specialty there. Let’s make it!
Nantucket cranberry pie ingredients
- fresh or frozen cranberries work here, but not dried.
- I like to toast them first for best flavor.
- almond extract
- while you could also use vanilla, there is something extra delicious about the cranberry almond combination.
how to make Nantucket cranberry pie
- Toss cranberries, sugar, and nuts together and place in buttered pie dish.
- Cream butter and sugar, then beat in eggs and vanilla.
- Fold in the flour and spread over your cranberries.
- Sprinkle the top with sugar.
- Bake your Nantucket cranberry pie until golden on top and bubbling inside.
- Serve warm or at room temp, plain or with the dessert topping of your choice!
why we love it
Nantucket cranberry pie is a simple dessert without a lot of bells and whistles, right up the Great Island’s alley. The juicy tart berries mixing with the soft cake is magical.
I vote for using it as a breakfast or brunch cake, it goes so well with a cup of coffee or tea. But it could certainly be served for dessert, especially with a garnish of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
It would be wonderful baked up in a cast iron skillet!
- Make it gluten free using a good quality gf 1:1 baking mix.
- Go nut free, just leave them out.
- Make it dairy free using vegan butter.
- For sugar free use an alternative granulated sugar substitute.
Use frozen cranberries, no need to thaw.
Switch out the pecans for walnuts or pistachios in your Nantucket cranberry pie.
Use another type of fruit like blueberries or blackberries.
Incorporate orange with the zest of an orange mixed with the cranberries, batter, or both. You could also add zest to the whipped cream garnish.
Switch out the almond extract for vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
Incorporate fresh or dried ginger into the berries or batter.
Double the recipe for a 9×13 pan.
Bake in a cast iron skillet.
Decorate your Nantucket cranberry pie with sugared cranberries: just roll damp cranberries in white sugar and let dry.
Nantucket Cranberry Pie
- 9 or 10 inch pie plate
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, you can also use frozen, but do not thaw.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
- Preheat oven to 350°F and butter your pie plate.
- Toss the cranberries, sugar, and pecans together and add to your pie plate.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to ensure everything gets evenly incorporated.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl again. Beat in the extract.
- Fold in the flour.
- Dollop the batter over the cranberries and then take an offset spatula to gently spread it out evenly. It's ok if some cranberries poke through. Sprinkle the top with about a tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter. It will be moist, particularly because of the juicy cranberries at the bottom.
- Let the pie cool before slicing for neater slices. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
more cranberry desserts
- Cranberry Pie
- Chocolate Cake with Cranberry Buttercream
- Fresh Cranberry Bars
- Cranberry Orange Cake
- Cranberry Apple Crisp